Monday, September 19, 2011

Dear Childhood (童年)

Dear Childhood (童年),

You are and always will be my favorite song from childhood.  I have always been extremely proud of the fact that I remember all the lyrics to this Chinese song, all five verses long.  Recently, as I tried to sing it to myself, I realized that age is starting to do a number on me.  I could NOT remember one line from one verse.  Then it dawned on me that the answer is just one fingertip away, on the internet.

I found it.  And it took me down memory lane.  My nose stung, you know, the way you feel just before you start to tear up, just reading the lyrics.

池塘邊的榕樹上  知了在聲聲叫著夏天    
操場邊的鞦遷上  只有蝴蝶停在上面  
黑板上老師的粉筆   還在拚命嘰嘰喳喳寫個不停 
等待著下課  等待著放學   等待遊戲的童年  

福利社裡什麼都有  就是口袋裡沒有半毛錢    
諸葛四郎和魔鬼黨  到底誰搶到那隻寶劍  
隔壁班的那個男孩  怎麼還沒經過我的窗前    
嘴裡的零食  手裡的漫畫  心裡初戀的童年  

總是要等到睡覺以前   才知道功課只做了一點點  
總是要等到考試以後   才知道該念的書都沒有念   
一寸光陰一寸金   老師說過寸金難買寸光陰   
一天又一天 一年又一年  迷迷糊糊的童年    

沒有人知道為什麼   太陽總下到山的那一邊  
沒有人能夠告訴我  山裡面有沒有住著神仙    
多少的日子裡總是一個人  面對著天空發呆  
就這麼好奇  就這麼幻想    這麼孤單的童年   

陽光下蜻蜓飛過來   一片片油綠綠的稻田  
水彩臘筆和萬花筒   畫不出天邊那一條彩虹    
什麼時候才能像高年級的同學 有張成熟長大的臉  
盼望著假期 盼望著明天  盼望長大的童年    

一天又一天  一年又一年  盼望長大的童年

( : )

Here is my translation of the lyrics.

On the banyan tree next to the pond, cicadas call, "summer, summer!"
On the swing next to the track field, a lonley butterfly rests on it.
The teacher's chalk is still squeaking endlessly on the blackboard.
Waiting for class to end, waiting for school to end, thus is my childhood of waiting to go play.

The convenience store has everything, but my pocket has nary half a coin.  
So will it be Zhu-Ge-Si-Lang or Mou-Gui-Dang (legendary comic book characters) who gets the treasured sword first?
How come the boy from the class next door has not walked by my window yet?
Mouth full of snacks, hands filled with comics, thus is my childhood of experiencing first love.

It's always before bedtime that I realize that I have only done a little bit of my homework.
It's always after tests that I realized I didn't study what I should have studied.
Time is gold, but my teacher says gold cannot buy time.
Day after day, year after year, thus is my childhood of time perpetually spent in a daze. 

No one can tell me why the sun must set over that hill.
No one can tell me if there really are immortals living in the mountains.
How many days have I spent gazing aimlessly at the sky, all alone?
I'm just that curious, I'm just that imaginative, thus is my childhood of quiet solitude.

Under the rays of the sun, dragonflies fly over the green, lush rice fields.
Neither watercolors, crayons, nor kaleidoscopes can replicate that rainbow in the sky.
When will I be able to have the grown-up, mature face like that of the upper grade students?
Waiting for vacation, waiting for tomorrow, thus is my childhood of waiting to grow up.

Day after day, year after year, thus is my childhood of waiting to grow up.

(Written and composed by Da You Lo)

Then I found videos of this song on YouTube.  I definitely was welling up by then.  The following one is a compilation of images that corresponds to the lyrics, and sung by the original writer/composer.  I am posting this one so that my non-Chinese friends can sort of get a sense of the lyrics. 

Thinking back, I probably learned this song when I was in second or third grade, just about the same age as my Dear Daughter.  I started to wonder if this is how she feels right about now.  Sure, there are days when DD probably wishes that school was over for the day, or maybe her imagination takes the best of her and she dreams an afternoon away.  And then there's that longing wish of wanting to be just like the upper grade kids. 

But then I realize that while there will be some commonalities of childhood and growing up, her experiences will really be so very different from mine.  Hers is of a brand new generation, in a different culture, with a different language, and under completely different circumstances.  But I do know that she will have her own childhood memories to cherish.  And as she walks down her memory lane one day, I hope that she will experience that same feeling of warmness radiating from inside her chest, and the same nose stinging when she sees reflections of certain great moments of her childhood.  Most of all, I hope that she will also associate the recollections of her childhood with a song that elicits the same tender, sweet sentiments as my song does for me. 

I just hope it's not a Selena Gomez song.



  1. OMG! I love the song! So much memories! *cries*

  2. Most of my friends like us (immigrated to US after having gone to school and learned our native language in our birth place) all know and LOVE this song! Each time I think of this song, so many childhood memories come back to me, too! =)